Thursday, January 08, 2004

Greyhawk recently posted a list of ten "forgotten" military posts he'd made. Needless to say, it's all good stuff and worth your time, but this post in particular caught my eye. I was unaware that Burkett had received this award, and I am very, very glad to hear it. The man deserves that and more for the work he's done over the last 18 years.

This is a topic I am passionate about. You see, several years ago my father (a Vietnam-era draftee) told me about a book called Stolen Valor, and I promptly bought it for him for his birthday, not realizing that it was going to be a revolutionary read for me in many ways.

My father's a lot like me--or, perhaps, I am like my father--in that when he discovers something fascinating, he feels compelled to share it. That's why, after several phone calls where he told me at length about Burkett's research, I was hopelessly intrigued enough to read the book, and it forever changed my image of not just the Vietnam era, but of the military itself.

Vietnam--and Vietnam era--veterans have had the honor due them stripped away in much of the public mind by the mechanisms Burkett exposes. This is a travesty that continues to be perpetrated even today by media outlets and politicians who object to America's use of force under most circumstances. It is of perhaps greater importance than ever that we view the era through a lens free of distortion, since it is being used by those who oppose the war we are now invoved in as a justification for inaction.

I'll happily argue with you until we are both blue in the face over whether Vietnam accomplished anything (I happen to believe that it did, but that is a post for another evening). Allowing the image of the Vietnam veteran as a drug-using baby-killing homeless mentally ill waste product of an unjust war to continue, however, is a terrible injustice, and an insult to all of those who served honorably.

We owe it to ourselves and to the nation to arm ourselves with facts, and facts are what Burkett brings to the table. So go read Greyhawk's post, then go read Stolen Valor. Both will fascinate and surprise you and are well worth the time you'll spend pondering them.

8:54 PM